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Magen Biosciences, a Waltham, MA-based company focused on novel dermatology treatments, is acquired by the contract research firm PPD for $14.5 million December 18, 2010

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Magen Biosciences, a Waltham, MA-based company focused on novel dermatology treatments, will be acquired by the contract research firm PPD for $14.5 million. The firm was founded in 2006 by a well known group of biotech entrepreneuers and investors, including Rich Aldrich, founder of RA Capital, David Fisher, chief of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Christoph Westphal, co-founder of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. Having raised $17 million in seed and Series A financing from a syndicate of backers including ARCH Venture Partners, TVM Capital, and IDG Ventures (now Flybridge Capital Partners), the purchase price is unlikely to result in an exit for Magen’s backers.

Back in 2008, Magen inlicensed for an undisclosed sum a number of derm compounds from Eli Lilly that showed positive anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative results in preclinical studies. It’s a good thing they did: those compounds were the primary reason for PPD’s interest in the biotech. The buy-out gives PPD an entrée into the specialist field of dermatology. In a press release announcing the news, PPD CEO Fred Eshelman noted that dermatologic treatments generally have a “more straightforward path to regulatory approval.” That’s certainly part of the logic behind moves of another specialist drug maker, Valeant, which is trying to brand itself as a derm power-house thanks to the recent acquisitions of Coria Laboratories, Dow, and DermaTech.

Newton’s MedNetworks, Inc. raises $5 Million in a Series A August 21, 2010

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Newton’s MedNetworks, Inc., a provider of technology for analyzing real life social networks of physicians and patients, raises $5 Million in a Series A round of equity funding led by Excel Venture Management.

Germany’s Merck KgAA offers $7.2B for Billerica’s Millipore March 8, 2010

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Germany’s Merck KgAA offers $7.2B for Billerica’s Millipore. Merck KgAA has swooped in to offer $6 billion, or $107 per share, for the bioresearch and bioproduction company, beating Waltham’s Thermo Fisher to the punch. Including debt, the deal is valued at $7.2 billion. The deal will boost Merck’s chemicals business, which currently generates 25 percent of its total revenue, the company says in a statement. With the Millipore buyout, that number will grow to 35 percent. And it gives the developer a strong source of revenue that’s not subject to the uncertainties of drug development.

The German company says it intends to retain Millipore’s headquarters in Billerica, Massachusetts and combine it with Merck’s U.S. chemical headquarters. It also plans to build on Millipore’s workforce and retain its senior management. Merck expects that the combined business will generate annual cost synergies of around $100 million (€ 75 million), which it expects to realize within three years from the closing of the transaction, according to a statement.

In 2009, Millipore generated sales of $1.7 billion, with roughly 6,000 employees in more than 30 countries. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2010.

Merck KGaA and Millipore Announce Transaction
Merck to acquire all outstanding Millipore shares for US$ 107 per share in cash, creating a world-class partner for the life science sector
Agreed transaction valued at approximately € 5.3 billion (US$ 7.2 billion)
Combination will create a € 2.1 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) partner for the Life Science sector and transform Merck Chemicals
Combined business will have significant scale in high-growth bioresearch and bioproduction segments
Merck intends to retain Millipore’s headquarters in Billerica, Massachusetts
Darmstadt, Germany and Billerica, MA – February 28, 2010 – Merck KGaA, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company, and Millipore Corporation (NYSE: MIL), a leading Life Science company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, USA, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Merck KGaA will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Millipore, for US$ 107 per share in cash, or a total transaction value, including net debt, of approximately € 5.3 billion (US$ 7.2 billion). The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Millipore and Merck will create a € 2.1 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) world-class partner for the Life Science sector, achieving significant scale in high-margin specialty products with an attractive growth profile.
“This transaction is very attractive to shareholders, customers and employees of both companies,” said Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck. “This is a combination with an excellent strategic fit, which will allow us to cover the entire value chain for our pharma and biopharma customers, offering in entire value chain for our pharma and biopharma customers, offering integrated solutions beyond chemicals.”
Millipore has a strong position in the attractive bioresearch and bioproduction segments, offering a comprehensive range of products, technologies and services for pharma and biotech companies, as well as for academia, to improve laboratory productivity and to develop and optimize manufacturing processes. In 2009, Millipore generated sales of US$ 1.7 billion, with around 6,000 employees in more than 30 countries.
Martin Madaus, Chairman, President and CEO of Millipore said, “Over the past five years, we have transformed Millipore into a life science leader by driving innovation, entering new markets, and generating exceptional operational performance. Today’s announcement, which is the outcome of a thorough strategic review process, is a validation of the tremendous value of the Millipore brand and a testament to the value this transformation has created for all of our stakeholders. We are excited to join a high-quality company like Merck as we will gain greater scale and scope in the life science industry. This is a very positive outcome for our employees and customers as we continue to build on our strategy for growth, while maintaining our headquarters in Billerica.”
Together, Millipore and Merck will have a significant presence in high-growth segments and an enhanced geographic presence. Combining the research and development capabilities of both companies will create a powerful innovation platform to develop cutting-edge technologies that are tailored even more closely to the needs of customers.
Dr. Kley added: “By combining Millipore’s bioscience and bioprocess knowledge with our own expertise in serving pharma customers, we will be able to unlock value in our chemicals business and transform it into a strong growth driver for Merck. Through this acquisition, we will expand the overall product offering of the Merck Group, using the well-recognized Millipore brand in addition to our own brand.”
The acquisition is fully in line with Merck’s strategy of focusing on high-margin, specialty products with an attractive growth profile. In addition, the transaction will lead to a more balanced business profile for the Group. Currently, the Chemicals business sector generates around 25% of Merck’s total revenues. Following the transaction, the chemicals business will contribute 35% of total Group revenues of € 8.9 billion (pro forma), driven by its strong Liquid Crystals business and the new world-class life science business.
In order to ensure a seamless integration of the two businesses, Merck will apply a “best of both worlds” integration approach across all operating business functions. Merck plans to build on Millipore’s talented workforce and intends to retain its senior management. The company also plans to maintain Millipore’s headquarters in Billerica and combine it with Merck’s U.S. chemicals headquarters. Merck expects that the combined business will generate annual cost synergies of around US$ 100 million (€ 75 million), which Merck expects to realize within three years from the closing of the transaction.
The acquisition will be funded through available cash and a term loan provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft. Merck plans to replace part of the facility through the issuance of bonds. Merck is committed to retaining a solid investment-grade rating.
Completion of the acquisition requires the approval of Millipore shareholders, for which Millipore will call a special shareholders meeting, and the satisfaction of other customary conditions, including antitrust clearance. Due to the fact that the two businesses are highly complementary, Merck expects that the transaction will clear regulatory review. Merck anticipates that the transaction will be completed in the second half of 2010, at which time all outstanding shares of Millipore common stock will be exchanged for the right to receive the agreed cash payment.
Guggenheim Securities, LLC and Perella Weinberg Partners LP have acted as financial advisors to Merck in the transaction, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as the Group’s legal advisor. Goldman Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to Millipore, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Ropes & Gray LLP acted as Millipore’s legal advisors.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Further information:
Please find further information on Merck’s corporate website http://www.merck.de
A pre-recorded interview with Merck Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley is available at http://www.merck.de

News Release
Media Call and Press Conference:
Merck Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, and Dr. Bernd Reckmann, Head of the Chemicals business sector, will discuss the transaction at a press conference on March 1, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. CET. The press conference will also be broadcast on Merck’s website: http://www.merck.de.
Analysts and Investor Call:
Merck Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, and Merck Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Michael Becker, will discuss the transaction in a conference call for European analysts and investors at 9 a.m. CET and for U.S. analysts and investors at 2:30 p.m. CET (8:30 a.m. EST), both on March 1, 2010.
Merck KGaA stock symbols:
Reuters: MRCG, Bloomberg: MRK GY, Dow Jones: MRK.DE
Frankfurt Stock Exchange: ISIN: DE 000 659 9905 – WKN: 659 990
About Merck
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of € 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 33,000 employees in 61 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck’s operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.
About Millipore
Millipore (NYSE: MIL) is a Life Science leader providing cutting-edge technologies, tools, and services for bioscience research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. As a strategic partner, we collaborate with customers to confront the world’s challenging human health issues. From research to development to production, our scientific expertise and innovative solutions help customers tackle their most complex problems and achieve their goals. Millipore Corporation is an S&P 500 company with more than 6,000 employees worldwide.

Read more: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/press-releases/merck-kgaa-and-millipore-announce-transaction-0#ixzz0hcesNRXK

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Cambridge’s Knome pioneers the new science of DNA gene sequencing: is there a DNA scan in your health care future? March 8, 2010

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Gene researchers have been anticipating for years now about how gene sequencing technology will revolutionize the practice of medicine. With the steady advancement of Moore’s law-induced cost lowering, cheap gene sequencing means this revolution is now underway. The cost of decoding all 6 Billion letters in the human genome has dropped from around $1 Million in 2007 to less than $20,000 today.

Already the cost of performing a gene scan on a patient can be lowered to $2,500 if a two-step method is used to extract and sequence only the 1% of the gene sequences that contain known genes. New gene sequencers being introduced by companies such as Illumina and Life Technologies could lower the cost of sequencing an entire patient’s genome to below $3,000 by the end of 2010.

Although DNA sequencers have not been approved for use in medical testing, and insurers don’t pay for sequencing, peering into the DNA of wealthy patients with rare and scary diseases is becoming an option.

Knome, a privately held, Cambridge, Massachusetts based company, started out in 2008 by charging up to $350,000 to arrange sequencing and interpretation of the gene data for wealthy patrons as a vanity project. The company now offers the scans for as little as $25,000. The company’s CEO, Jorge Conde, is said to have expressed that several patients hoping to use the scans to guide their care providers in diagnosis and prescription. Cancer patients may be among the first to benefit from DNA sequencing technology.

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Boston Scientific agrees to pay $1.73 Billion in a court patent settlement to Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis Unit February 7, 2010

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Boston Scientific agrees to pay $1.73 Billion in a court patent settlement to Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis Unit. A nasty patent fight over heart stents, the tiny mesh tubes that prop open clogged arteries, came to an end on February 1st, when Boston Scientific agreed to pay $1.73 Billion to JOhnson & Johnson’s Cordis unit. The spat, during which the two companies lobbed a dozen lawsuits at each other, dates back to 2003 and involves three separate patents. The rivals haven’t quite buried the scalpel, however: J & J points out in a statement that it is pursuing patent litigation over Boston Scientific’s Promus stents.


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Cambridge’s Aura Biosciences pioneers the new science of nanomedicines with nanosmart particles January 25, 2010

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Cambridge’s Aura Biosciences pioneers the new science of nanomedicines with nanosmart particles

Elisabeth de los Pinos is a molecular biologist and founder and President of Aura Biosciences, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In late 2007, the Barcelona native learned that a cancer research institute in Germany had created a nanoparticle with dimensions that would allow it to pass easily through blood vessels (one nanomater equals a billionth of a meter). And because nanoparticles are multifunctional, she figured they would be the perfect vehicle to carry a homing device, a technology she then located at a British research center.

De los Pinos got exclusive licenses for both technologies and then went to work. She and her team genetically modified the nanoparticle by adding a targeting peptide to it. The result was a structure that can protect, target, and deliver the drug inside it. If the drug can be restricted to the cancer site, oncologists will be able to up the dosage without inflicting the damage elsewhere. higher doses mean higher efficacy.

Anticancer nanomedicines are very hot. The hope is that this technology will provide drugs with the ability to simultanteously treat, target and be monitored in the body.

De los Pinos, who has trademarked her new technology as nanosmart particles, is part of a cadre of nanoentrepreneurs, many of whom have found particles as potential delivery vehicles but are not necessarily using new medicines. Alot is currently known about the good and bad effects of approved drugs. If a drug is effective and widely used and there is a way to make it more effective, it makes sense to promote grater effectiveness in the drug’s employment. The target is well known; It is the aiming of the drugs that is now improving.

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Cambridge’s Virtify raises $15 Million in a Series A Round January 22, 2010

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Cambridge’s Virtify, a provider of Web-based document management software for life sciences firms, raises $15 Million in a Series A Round from a group of undisclosed investors.

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Newton’s Life Image raises $2.2 Million January 22, 2010

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Newton, MA -based Life Image, a provider of software that enables doctors to share radiology images with colleagues around the globe via cloud-based in-boxes, raises $2.2 Million from a group of investors including Long River Ventures, Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, and Partners Innovation Fund.

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MIT professor and double amputee invents the Iwalk PowerFoot, the world’s most advanced robotic prosthetic foot December 3, 2009

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MIT professor and double amputee Dr. Hugh Herr is building the world’s most advanced prosthetic foot. In 2006, Herr founded Iwalk, which has plans to release next year the PowerFoot One, the world’s most advanced robotic ankle and foot. Iwalk is a startup funded by General Catalyst Partners and WFD Ventures. Iwalk has raised $10.2 million from investors.

Dr. Hugh Herr with the Iwalk PowerFoot

Dr. Hugh Herr with the Iwalk PowerFoot



The Iwalk PowerFoot is the only foot and ankle in the word that doesn’t depend on its wearer’s energy. With a system of passive springs and a half-pound rechargeable lithium iron phosphate battery, the foot – made of aluminum, titanium, plastic and carbon fiber – provides the same 20-joule push off the ground that human muscles and tendons do. It automatically adjusts the power to the walker’s speed, but users can also dial that power up or down with a Bluetooth-enabled phone, and with a forthcoming iPhone application.

Most prosthetic feet are fixed at a clumsy 90 degrees. The Iwalk PowerFoot, equipped with three internal microprocessors and twelve force, inertia and position sensors, automatically adjusts its angle, stiffness and damping 500 times a second. Employing the same sort of sensory feedback loops that the human nervous system uses, plus a library of known patterns, the PowerFoot adjusts for slopes, dips its toe naturally when walking down the stairs, even hangs casually when the user crosses his or her legs.

Potential customers include the Department of Defense, looking for prostheses for the nearly 1,000 soldiers who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Veterans Administration and the Army are among the investors in Dr. Herr’s research.

Herr has a reputation as an obsessive student, earning a master’s in mechanical enginerring at MIT and a Ph.D. in biophysics at Harvard. He sat on a panel of scientists that confirmed that South African Oscar Pistorius, a sprinter with no legs below the knee, should be allowed to compete in the Olympics.


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Cambridge’s Ligon Discovery raises $1 Million in seed capital funding December 2, 2009

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Ligon Discovery reported recently on its website that it has raised $1 milllion in seed financing from incTANK Ventures. The Cambridge, MA-based startup says it uses a small molecule microarray system developed at Harvard University to discover drugs, and the drug-discovery technology has already been put to work at the Broad Institute. The company founders include Benjamin Ebert of Harvard Medical School, Angela Koehler of the Broad Institute, and company CEO Patrick Kleyn, who was previously director of scientific planning at the Broad. As part of the financing, IncTank Ventures general partner Christian Bailey is joining the board of directors at Ligon, according to the company.

Cambridge’s Cambridgesoft, life sciences software company, raises $31.3 Million in equity funding December 1, 2009

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Cambridge, MA-based Cambridgesoft, which makes software for life sciences companies, disclosed in regulatory documents filed November 17 that it has raised $31.3 million in new equity-based financing. Cambridgesoft first announced the funding round (though not the amount) in a November 16 release that named new investor Health Evolution Partners and existing investor Goldman Sachs as the funders in the round.

Waltham’s ImmunoGen lands a $1 Million licensing fee from Amgen November 25, 2009

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Waltham, MA-based ImmunoGen (NASDAQ: IMGN) said recently that Amgen has purchased a second license to develop a treatment that uses ImmunoGen’s technology for linking targeted antibodies to cell-killing agents that make them more potent. ImmunoGen will get $1 million upfront and could receive $34 million worth of milestone payments over time if Amgen is successful in developing a drug against an undisclosed target on cancer cells. Amgen bought its first such license to the ImmunoGen technology in September.

Waltham based Affectiva, biosensor developer, raises $1.7 Million from a group of undisclosed investors November 16, 2009

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Waltham, MA -based Affectiva, developer of a biosensor that both measures and communicates the emotional arousal state of a human, raises $1.7 Million from a group of undisclosed investors.

Cambridge based Genocea Biosciences tests experimental vaccines in a simulated human immune system November 14, 2009

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Cambridge, MA -based Genocea Biosciences uses technology developed at the Harvard Medical School to very rapidly test experimental vaccines in a simulated version of the human immune system.

The startup has raised $23 Million from venture capital firms SR One and Waltham -based Polaris Ventures.

BioAssets Development, a Wellesley based investigator of spinal applications for existing drugs, enters into $30 Million option to be acquired by Cephalon November 12, 2009

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Frazer, PA-based Cephalon (NASDAQ: CEPH) has agreed to pay $30 million for an option to acquire BioAssets Development Corporation, a Wellesley, MA-based company investigating spinal uses for existing and experimental drugs, according to a press release. Under the terms of the agreement, BioAssets will be eligible for an additional payment if Cephalon exercises the option, as well as for payments tied to regulatory and sales milestones.

American Well, Boston based Health Care Startup, raises $10 Million in secrecy November 1, 2009

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American Well, a Boston-based company that provides a Web-based system in use by several large health plans to let their members consult with doctors over the Internet, has raised $10 million in new equity funding, according to a regulatory filing with the S.E.C. The documents don’t name the funders in the round, continuing the company’s track record of secrecy around the amount of financing it’s raised and the identities of its investors.

Waltham MA based Inverness Medical Innovation Systems acquires Seattle based Free & Clear for around $130 Million October 29, 2009

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Waltham, MA-based Inverness Medical Innovations (NYSE: IMA) has acquired Seattle-based Free & Clear for $100 million in cash, plus up to $30 million in potential follow-on payments based on Free & Clear’s 2010 revenues. Inverness Medical Innovations manufactures consumer diagnostic tests such as pregnancy tests, and also provides wellness and disease management (DM) services through its Alere subsidiary. Free & Clear, which was backed by Waltham, MA -based Polaris Venture Partners, Three Arch Partners, and Kaiser Permanente Ventures, offers telephone-based coaching for company employees battling tobacco addiction, obesity, and stress.

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